Sightings and Psychics

Links to a.d.sullivan & info on Susan Walsh

 

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In mid August, several things happened at once, threads that seemed to

lead off in different directions, but would later circle back upon

themselves, twisting into that web work so common in tales dealing with

Sue.

 

Paul O'Keefe in a Aug. 15 column for the Nutley Journal raised similar

questions about the direction the news hype had taken.

 

"The tabloids can now expand their salacious assassination of the

reputation of missing Nutley mother, Susan Walsh," O'Keefe wrote. "The

daily newspapers in New Jersey and New York have made a lot of hay about

Walsh's `connection' to vampire cults in New York City. Never mind that

the sole connection she had was investigating these people for a

possible article. Well now the tabloids can expand the vampire

connection into a conspiracy. There is one more vampire lurking around

Nutley. His name is Paul O'Keefe."

 

O'Keefe then went on to say how for "five measly dollars" he became a

vampire, noting that he had applied to an ad in the back of "Fate

Magazine."

 

The group to which he became a life time member was called the Temple of

the Vampire, which was fully recognized as a religion since 1989 when

they registered with the federal government. In condemning the tabloids,

O'Keefe said "P.T.Barum was wrong. A sucker is not born every minute,

but created unwittingly when modern Pandoras curious respond to an ad."

 

O'Keefe jested in describing the oaths and duties expected of vampires,

but even he didn't quite understand just how twisted the whole matter

would get within only a week of his editorial. On Aug. 22, the Nutley

Sun, O'Keefe's competition, broke the news that the world famous psychic

Dorothy Allison weighed in on the Sue Walsh Story and came to a

conclusion that was not much different from the story I was telling.

 

Allison was recommended to me by several residents in Secaucus who knew

I was involved in searching for Susan Walsh. The famed psychic had

helped find two children in nearby North Bergen less than a decade

earlier.

 

"If anyone knows where your friend is, Dorothy Allison does," one source

said.

 

Allison, a Nutley resident, has an international reputation for locating

missing people -- though several Hudson County psychics claim she is

over rated, the Doctor Kevorkian of the occult industry, someone more

interested in publicity than in ESP. Several said Allison only took on

cases she could already predict, where the body of evidence gives her a

strong clue to the outcome before she has to commit herself. But at the

time the Walsh family contacted her, Allison had just returned from

Canada, where she had led the Canadian Mounties to the graves of several

murder victims. In the past, she has been honored by police departments

throughout the United States and honored by the FBI. But she rarely

deals with cases so close to home and prefers to handle cases involving

missing children.

 

"Because they are defenseless and are not responsible for the dilemma

they may find themselves in," wrote James Zoccoli in the Nutley Sun's

account.

 

She also looked for those who shoot police offices and victims she

believes is in immediate danger. But in Sue's case, she didn't sense any

threat to Sue.

 

"I don't feel any real danger for her," Allison said. "This

(disappearance) is not because anyone kidnaped her. I don not believe

she has been murdered. I don't get a death feeling."

 

Allison went on to say that Sue was then staying somewhere with the name

of "The Palace," a site that had something to do with a theater. Allison

also noted that the person accompanying Sue is connected with gambling.

 

"What she's doing she's doing on her own," Allison said. "This is not

because someone is forcing her."

 

As pointed out by Zoccoli, Allison vision fit in a string of sightings,

people who were supposed to be Sue. In fact, reports had come in from

areas all around Northern New Jersey including Newark, Belleville and

Midland Park. Detectives spoke to a number of people who believe they've

actually seen her, including one of Susan's old friends. Although police

checked out all the leads, there has been no positive identification. A

priest at St. Francis Roman Catholic Church on Bloomfield Avenue in

Newark said he saw someone who looked like Sue seated in the front pew

of his church. She seemed to be wringing hecome in from areas all around

Northern New Jersey including Newark, Belleville and Midland Park.

Detectives spoke to a number of people who believe they've actually seen

her, including one of Susan's old friends. Although police checked out

all the leads, there has been no pos

 

The most promising sighting came from Sue's best friend, Melissa Hines,

who said she recognized Susan on the street.

 

"I saw her in a car with somebody," Melissa said. "We were down on

Broadway in Newark looking for her and I saw her sitting on the

passenger side of a car with this guy. I shouted her name and saw her

head turn, and then when I started running towards her and ways, the guy

started the car and took off. I couldn't catch her, but I did get the

license plate number. It was definitely her. The police checked out the

number and said it belonged to a dentist in Fairfield. He said he hadn't

been in Newark. But I saw that car. I m sure it was her."

 

Martha Young told Zoccoli that she was heartened to hear that Allison

believes her daughter is still alive, but Young said she is left with an

empty feeling.

 

"It gives me hope," Young said. "But I don't know what to do with this

information."

 

Allison's report made Melissa angry.

 

"I'm getting sick of the whole thing," she said. "If Susan's out there

on her own, she doesn't know what she's putting people through."

 

 

By this time, the Bergen Record had released its own version of the

Susan Walsh story, a fine piece of journalism that focused on Sue's

father: "Rumors of her fate have run rampant since Susan Walsh

disappeared last month, but her father clings to a thread of hope. Maybe

she's still alive, he thinks. Maybe she's just afraid to come home."

 

The story "Where is Susan, a troubled woman's strange departure,"

written by Mary Jane Fine was the first piece that seemed free of a

particular slant, and compared to the pieces that had preceded it in

previous papers, it was pure poetry.

 

"He has had time, far too much time now, to brood about the

possibilities," the story starts. "It has been a month, aft all, since

circumstances forced Floyd Merchant to consider where his only

daughter's off-the-track life might have led her."

 

While the Essex County prosecutor's office was treating Sue's vanishing

as a possible homicide, Merchant said the police didn't really believe

she was dead, and neither did he. And though this might have been the

hopeful optimism of a needy father, Fine's story claimed it echoed a

growing sentiment in the case, that Sue was out there somewhere, alive

if not well, unwilling to emerge amid all the hoopla.

 

"She was sick and didn't know what she was doing," Merchant said. "But

now she may and she may be afraid to come back."

 

Fine laid out many of the theories behind Sue's vanishing from rumors of

her being kidnaped by a stalker or abducted by a vampire cult to being

silenced by the Russian Mafia or that her vanishing was a hoax, staged

to publicize "Redlight."

 

"It is the last rumor, the notion that Walsh would deliberately subject

her son to such trauma, which pains Merchant the most," Fine wrote.

 

"Susan doesn't need any guilt," Floyd said. "I think she has a serious

self-esteem problem, but she is so loved. And everyone understand she as

in a fog, a different world, when she left."

 

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Since the beginning of August, two freelance bounty hunters have helped

Floyd and the police in their search for Sue. Eric DeJesus and Pedro

Carmente, who work for a percentage of bail bonds when people jump bail.

They were tough, street-hardened men, used to dealing with the worst

elements in one of the most dangerous cities in the nation. But now,

they told Fine, they had a different mission, to fine Sue and bring her

back to her son, repeating what has become a mantra in the Sue Walsh

tale: "Her son is everything to her," DeJesus said. "Everything there

is."

 

Although Fine painted their motivation as pure, the two men probably had

something else in mind when they took up the case. This was their first

missing person's situation, and one with a national focus. If they found

Sue -- and it was likely they would since they knew Newark as well as

anybody -- they would have a national reputation. And indeed, they were

good at what they did.

 

"They can rattle off the details of Walsh's disappearance as easily as

the cops doubtless can," Fine wrote.

 

Officials would not discuss the case, but -- as Fine pointed out --

DeJesus and Carmentate believe the police are reviewing all the calls

made from the phones near Walsh's homes, seeking to identify the person

with whom she last spoke. This would prove to be a fruitless endeavor.

Techies from Bell Atlantic would tell the police later that public

telephone connections vanish one the coin runs out, leaving no way to

trace calls. This was a fact Sue seemed somewhat aware of. Even in

college, she had a fixation for using public phones, even though in many

cases, another telephone was more convenient.

 

"You would always find her by the public phones," one woman from college

told me. "And she never used the same one of those twice either."

 

Meanwhile, DeJesus and Carmenate patrolled the wet streets of Newark in

their LTD, convinced that Sue was somewhere nearby, hiding or being

hidden.

 

Both told Fine people had seen her, confidential informants, who

recognized her from her photograph.

 

"Man, you just missed her by an hour," more than one of these informants

told them, as they moved from one location to another, traveling passed

boarded up buildings and lots overgrown with weeds, areas along Broadway

that never really recovered from the 1967 riots.

 

"At first, the two men though the sightings were simply look-alikes --

the Strip in Newark has more than its share of pretty blondes," Fine

wrote. "But time and whisperings have convinced them otherwise. The men

acknowledge their frustration. Unless someone cough up Walsh's

whereabout -- and they say they have a fix on a person who knows --

finding her will depend on luck.

 

"The right place at the right time," Carmenate said.

 

Unfortunately, just after this story went to print on Aug. 18, the

Nutley police cornered DeJesus and Carmenate and told them to get off

the case.

 

"The police threatened them," Melissa said. "The police told them that

if they didn't stop, they would go to jail."

 

"For what?" I asked.

 

"For interfering with an investigation."

 

A bitter Floyd later confirmed this information.

Broadway, Newark

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